Alex Codling sees positives after late penalty try denies Rosslyn Park victory in crucial clash

Rosslyn Park 16-17 Ealing Trailfinders

Rosslyn Park head coach Alex Codling was proud of his players after a late penalty try denying them victory against title rivals Ealing Trailfinders on Saturday.

Eleven points from the boot of Louis Grimoldby and a second-half try from Adam Bellamy cancelled out scores from Ealing’s James Kilbane and Phil Chesters to give Park a six-point lead heading into the closing stages.

However, referee Greg Macdonald, awarded a penalty try three minutes from time to leave Codling ruing a missed opportunity.

He said: “It’s pretty tough to take. I thought the boys were magnificent but we’ve gone up against a fully professional team.

“I think the way they celebrated at the end tells you everything you need to know about the quality of our performance.”

The sides were separated by just one point at the top of the table at the start of proceedings and an evenly matched first half saw Park lead 6-5 at the interval thanks to two penalties from Grimoldby.

Yellow cards for Ealing’s Nathan Buck and Will Davis, for a high tackle and infringement at the ruck respectively, gave Park a two-man advantage at the start of the second half.

The home side failed to make it count though, only adding a solitary penalty to their total. Ealing hit back immediately after a fine offload allowed Chesters to score in the corner in the 54th minute.

Park substitute Harry Broadbent carried the ball excellently and his break allowed Bellamy to bundle over with Grimoldby adding the extras via the post to give Park a 16-10 lead.

Despite a solid defensive display from Park, Sam Shires was sin-binned for not retreating quick enough and Ealing forced a penalty try in the 77th minute to snatch the win and increase their lead in the league to four points.

“It’s a devastating way to lose, we raised our game in the second half but gave away too many penalties and they punished us,” said winger David Vincent.

“I don’t think you can fault the effort of the guys and there is massive team cohesion between us. We played for each other and matched a quality full-time outfit.”

Park face a London derby away at Blackheath next week and Codling is keen to move on from the defeat.

He said: “I’ve been incredibly proud all season and we’ll keep taking it game by game and just try to push on from what we achieved last year.”

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